Ephestia elutella

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Cacao moth
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pyralidae
Tribe: Phycitini
Genus: Ephestia
Species: E. elutella
Binomial name
Ephestia elutella
(Hübner, 1796)

Numerous, see text

Ephestia elutella, the cacao moth, tobacco moth or warehouse moth, is a small moth of the family Pyralidae. It is probably native to in Europe, but has been transported widely, even to Australia. A subspecies is E. e. pterogrisella.

The wingspan is 14–20 mm. This moth flies throughout the warmer months, e.g. from the end of April to October in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The caterpillars are often considered a pest, as they feed on dry plant produce, such as cocoa beans and tobacco, as well as cereals and dried fruit and nuts. Less usual foods include[1] dried-out meat and animal carcasses, specimens in insect collections, and dry wood.

This species has been known under a number of junior synonyms:[2]

  • Ephestia amarella Dyar, 1904
  • Ephestia icosiella Ragonot, 1888
  • Ephestia infumatella Ragonot, 1887
  • Ephestia roxburghi (lapsus)
  • Ephestia roxburghii Gregson, 1873
  • Ephestia roxburgii (lapsus)
  • Ephestia uniformata Dufrane, 1942 (variety)
  • Homoeosoma affusella Ragonot, 1888
  • Hyphantidium sericarium Scott, 1859
  • Phycis angusta (Haworth, 1811)
  • Phycis elutea Haworth, 1811; (unjustified emendation)
  • Phycis rufa Haworth, 1811
  • Phycis semirufa Haworth, 1811
  • Tinea elutella Hübner, 1796


  1. ^ Grabe (1942)
  2. ^ See references in Savela (2009)


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